The Congress sponsored Odisha bandh to protest against the BJD and BJP&’s failure to safeguard the interest of the state on the Mahanadi river water issue evoked response from the people , who, by and large, were keen on availing an”‘ extended holiday” on Tuesday.
Second Saturday, Sunday and Independence Day, had provided a three day vacation and the bandh added one more to it as far as employees and the working class were concerned.
Traders, bus operators and other forms of transport went off road as they did not want to risk doing business.
Commuters had a harrowing time. Several trains were delayed due to picketing by Congress activists at various railway stations across the state.
Though the bandh was peaceful, there were stray instances of mob frenzy and destruction of public property at Angul, Keonjhar and Cuttack districts.
A mob ransacked a few offices in Angul and Keonjhar district. Congress leaders including OPCC chief Prasad Harichandan,leader of opposition Narasingha Mishra, MP Ranjib Biswal, former chief minister Hemananda Biswal, former union minister S Jena and others led protests at different points of the state capital Bhubaneswar.
The rather strange sight of the OPCC chief Harichandan leading a group of lightweights on one side of the road and Narasingha Mishra heading another with the likes of MP Ranjib Biswal , deputy leader of the CLP Chinranjeev Biswal, former OPCC chief Niranjan Patnaik, Jagannath Patnaik and others right on the other side of the same road did raise eyebrows.
Both Harichandan and Mishra later addressed a joint press conference to thank people for supporting the bandh.
The Naveen Patnaik government failed to prevent BJP ruled Chhattisgarh from constructing barrages and dams upstream of Mahanadi over the last 15 years and now it is shedding crocodile tears.
In the year 2000 CM Naveen Patnaik had said he will not allow Chhattisgarh to go ahead with the proposed projects, yet he remained silent for all these years, largely due to a tacit understanding with the BJP, charged the Congress leaders.
The chief minister Naveen Patnaik delayed reaching the state secretariat waiting for the security go ahead as the entire stretch from his residence to the office was sanitised by the police.Normal life was affected from morning till late afternoon.
By 2 pm normalcy had been restored as vehicles started plying on the roads and by evening the shops and business establishments were open. A report from Angul said Congress supporters stormed into the office of the tehsildar at Banarpal and ransacked it. The district Congress president Prataap Pradhan however denied any violence by party workers.